The Los Angeles Rams moved to 9-4 on the season after beating the Arizona Cardinals 30-23 on Monday Night Football. LA went into the match up with the division leaders undermanned, as several players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, some only hours before the game. After the season defining victory, head coach Sean McVay and several players talked to the media about the thrilling win.
McVay praises players for stepping up
“Unbelievable job by our team. So many guys stepped up. Obviously there was a lot of, whether you call it adversity or late changes that we had to make. I can’t say enough about the leadership of this group... This was the sign of a mentally tough team.”
McVay went on to praise some of the players that showed up big, including Aaron Donald and Darious Williams. He added that the turnovers were essential for a Rams’ victory.
McVay’s initial reaction to losing multiple players to the reserve/COVID-19 list
“My initial reaction was ‘you gotta be shitting me.’”
That was my initial reaction as well. LA was without Darrell Henderson, Rob Havenstein, Donte Deayon, Jalen Ramsey and Tyler Higbee. Hopefully they are all doing well and return quickly.
McVay in awe of Aaron Donald
“That’s what the best do. They play their best when their best is required. We talk about competitive greatness all the time. This guy is the epitome of competitive greatness. Really proud of Aaron, not at all surprised. He’s a special player, a special person. You felt his presence from the very first snap and then to the last one. He was outstanding. If he doesn’t win NFC Defensive Player of the Week something’s wrong.”
Donald sacked Kyler Murray three times on the night, bringing his season total to 10. He was worth every penny of his $135 million contract tonight.
McVay on the failed onside kick recovery
“Yeah, it wasn’t good. My thoughts were ‘you gotta be kidding me.’ Something we can learn from. Two players I do have a lot of trust in in Christian Roseboom and Terrell Burgess to be able to make that play and it’s something we gotta do a good job putting our guys in the right position.”
Special teams continues to be a nuisance for Los Angeles. Thankfully, the defense was able to thwart the Cardinals’ last chance at victory after LA’s hands team failed to recover the Arizona onside kick.
McVay on Ernest Jones’ growth
“He’s a stud. He’s really just continuing to gain confidence. You see the versatility. You see the ability to do a lot of different things. He’s playing in all our personnel groupings now so he’s really never leaving the field.”
Jones is making a habit of stuffing the stat sheet. The early returns on the 2021 draft class have not been good but Jones appears to be a potential linchpin at linebacker for years to come.
Leonard Floyd gets the pick
“I was in coverage. He basically threw it up to me. I had to go get it. I made the catch and offense got the ball back and put up some points.”
Floyd continued to validate the Rams’ decision to sign him to a big contract during the offseason. He was unable to get Murray down for a sack, but still found a way to make his impact felt by getting one of the two interceptions on the night.
Floyd wants the NFC West championship
“Oh yeah we definitely want to win the division, and then go on from there. It starts with the division though.”
LA’s chances at winning the division are still alive thanks to their valiant effort against the division leading Cardinals. The Rams now sit just one game behind Arizona with four games left, including two division contests.
Matthew Stafford’s thoughts on the offense
“I thought we were efficient in the passing game, taking what they were giving us, and then we took some shots and hit those shots.”
After a slow start, Stafford caught fire, spreading the ball around including three passing touchdowns to three different receivers. Once again, he was able to avoid turnovers and it led to a victory.
MATTHEW STAFFORD MISSLE TO VAN JEFFERSON— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) December 14, 2021
60 air yards pic.twitter.com/Di7jU6cT8r
Stafford and Beckham are getting in synch down the stretch
“Week in and week out, on the practice field he and I are communicating non-stop trying to make this thing come to life. He did a great job on the slant for the touchdown. Great job on the shallow going for about 40 on a 3rd down play for us. Another play action pass, hit him for 18 or 20 on the left sideline. He did some great things today.”
Beckham now has a receiving touchdown in three consecutive games. By NBA Jam rules, he’s on fire. He also made a heads up play, running backwards and going out of bounds to keep the clock running on a late 3rd down.
Donald on finding out Ramsey would not be able to play against the Cardinals
“It was definitely shocking. Jalen sent the text to me. I told him we were gonna hold it down for him. Guys needed to step up and make plays and we did that today.”
Losing one of the best players in the entire league less than five hours before kickoff was a devastating blow. Thankfully, the Rams were able to embody that next man of mantra.
Iknow some people playing well this year but there is STILL NO PLAYER BETTER THAN @AaronDonald97 ❕— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) December 14, 2021
Donald and the defense thriving off of turnovers
“That’s huge. Ernest got that one down in the red zone. They were driving on us. He made that play, turnover. That was huge for us. I think we scored on that drive. And then Flo (Floyd) with that big pick and we scored off that drive... We keep playing like that as a defense as far as flying around, turning the ball over, we can win a lot of football games.”
Defense wins championships. A performance like this without Ramsey is huge for LA. There’s no reason why they should not be able to build off of this performance.